Date of this Version
Purpose:- This study examined information overload experiences of a group of individuals who are in the social media contact list of the researchers. This covers their perceptions, experiences and impact on their health.
Design:- A survey of randomly selected individuals in the social media contact network of the researchers has been made. This has been done by administering a closed structured questionnaire which cover information ranging from demographic characteristics, time spent on ICT usage, to their experiences of information overload and the health effects of such experience.
Findings:- Male respondents, who are largely unemployed are active ICT users, but are unable to use the irrelevant information received. Aged 31-35 and above, half of men and all women participants spend more than 5 hours per day on the internet. Male respondents suffer head ache, have eye-strains or are addicted to the internet and more significantly overloaded than women. They also suffer from unspecified ailments. Half of female participants are also active ICT users, and suffering from back pain. Other women suffer from multiple effects of eye-strain, internet addiction, and upper limb pain. Educated respondents with Honours qualifications all suffer from eye strain.
Social implications:- Race is significant in explaining composite stress among blacks. This could be due to the demands placed on South African blacks to meet social commitments. Education also contributes to stress.
Originality/value:- There are very few studies that have examined information overload in South Africa using the approach adopted in this study.